CERAM has recently identified some crucial actions that need to be taken by the UK ceramics industry to help secure future growth.
By undertaking its Technology Foresight exercise, which has involved detailed research with its member companies, CERAM has identified the future needs specific to each of the ceramics industry sectors it serves, and has drawn up a series of reports and roadmaps to focus the needs, missions and goals of each sector to efficient and timely resource investment.
The studies which cover; Tableware, Sanitaryware, Tiles, Building Technology and High Performance Refractory Ceramics are industry based, and represent the industry’s collective voice to local, regional and national government organisations, and are influential in both policy making and evaluation of funding requests.
The Technology Foresight exercise has resulted in a clear picture of the business drivers and enabling factors for the ceramics industry over the next 10 – 15 years. In the key areas of Competitiveness, Markets, and Operating environment, issues associated with responsiveness to changing customer tastes, globalisation of the marketplace, and ensuring customer satisfaction through improvements in quality were identified as key challenges for the industry. Political and legislative issues associated with environmental protection, and the development and maintenance of a skilled workforce were also identified as key challenges through the studies. In the Building Technology study a strong swing towards energy saving technologies was identified which is wholly consistent with the current pressures in this area through taxation.
CERAM first conducted this exercise in 1996, and updated that survey in 2000 and both these reports have been influential in securing UK and EU funding for industrial projects with a value of over £5 million.
Dr Neil Sanderson of CERAM commented "The Technology Foresight Reports have been of great assistance to the ceramics industry in the past in the development of strategies and action plans to address the changing market, and economic and technological environments within which it operates. We hope the recently published studies will prove as beneficial in the future."